It’s officially the most important time of the year for professional wrestling, because WrestleMania 34 is less than one month away. On April 8, everyone in the WWE Universe will be tuned in to the action at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, watching the greatest sports entertainers in the world participate in their biggest matches since WrestleMania 33. While there are plenty of reasons to be excited about WrestleMania 34, there are also a quite a few reasons people aren’t all that enthused, with plenty of wrestlers sharing the blame for them.
The fact of the matter is, WWE is currently filled with a roster of wrestlers who either don’t care or just aren’t that good. Don’t get us wrong—there are just as many, or even more, wrestlers on Raw and SmackDown who exhibit the exact opposite of these traits, but the point is the WWE Universe is larger than ever before, and there’s a serious need for trimming the fat.
Ideally, with all eyes on the company and the roster expected to perform at their peak, WrestleMania season is the perfect time to decide who belongs on the chopping block. It’s also as good a time as any to speculate on some wrestlers we might want to make a WWE return sometime soon to take their places. To kill two birds with one stone, keep reading to learn about 12 WWE superstars we want gone after WrestleMania 34 and 8 we want back.
21 GO AWAY: Nia Jax
In the age of a so-called women’s wrestling revolution, it’s about time WWE finally hired a female monster that knew her way around a wrestling ring. Okay, so once upon a time they actually had one in Monster Ripper, but they made her parade around the ring like the goofy Bertha Faye, so there went that idea. Granted, Nix Jax is a step up from the Queen of the Trailer Park, yet she’s still not the type of destructive beast the women’s division deserves as it reaches brand new heights. Despite her impressive size, Jax is actually the worst sort of monstrous wrestler around; the kind who looks big and tough only for that façade to immediately drop when they have to wrestle for more than two minutes. The big scary “Irresistible Force” thing works for the first few appearances, but Jax has been around almost four years now without adding anything else to the picture, so it’s probably time WWE gave up on her.
20 GO AWAY: The Ascension
After a stint as arguably the most dominant tag team in NXT history, The Ascension suffered an immediate downward spiral that left them as pure jokes the second they debuted on the main WWE roster. That horrible slide in prominence began a full four years ago, and at this point, there’s genuinely no chance whatsoever that Konnor and Viktor could ever rehab their atrocious image as a team of losers. It’s not exactly like they could separate and start something new either, as their gimmick has left very little room for a repackage without both of them going away for quite some time first. Quite frankly, if WWE doesn’t choose to cut their losses with The Ascension sometime soon, we’re really not sure what’s left for them to do. They’ve already lost to every major tag team on SmackDown Live, and half the ones on Raw, so the only thing left is to drag them back down to NXT and ruin their legacy. It’s probably better they just leave before that happens.
19 COME BACK: John Morrison
At this point, it’s a little hard to understand why there haven’t in the very least been rumors about John Morrison, Johnny Mundo, Johnny Impact, whatever one wants to call him, making a long awaited return to WWE. The Tough Enough winner turned Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion needed time off to heal from injuries in 2011, and since then has decided to stay away from Vince McMahon’s company, preferring to work in other companies that give him more freedom. While Morrison obviously has his reasons for this, with talent like his, critics are surprised WWE hasn’t tried throwing a bunch of money at him to change his mind anyway. Morrison’s work for Lucha Underground, Impact Wrestling, and AAA make him perhaps the most talked about independent wrestler in the world, and the movie star good looks McMahon has no problem promoting haven’t faded in the slightest. Clearly, WWE needs to get over whatever problem they have with Morrison and bring him back already.
18 GO AWAY: Carmella
It’s extremely telling of Carmella’s position in WWE that she hasn’t had anything to do since breaking up with her “boyfriend” James Ellsworth—even though the self-professed Princess of Staten Island carries the Money in the Bank briefcase. That alone should make Carmella a relatively big deal, but nope, the Jersey Shore wannabe has such little screen presence of charisma that it would be hard to blame any SmackDown Live fans who forgot she had a Women’s Championship shot whenever she so pleased. It doesn’t help that Carmella won the thing over 9 months ago and hasn’t been anywhere near the title scene since then, meaning whenever she does cash in will feel like it simultaneously took way too long to happen and wasn’t deserved in the slightest. Once the inevitable happens and Carmella fails to win the gold, WWE should probably stop giving her any chances cold turkey, firing her as soon as possible.
17 COME BACK: Cody Rhodes
Of all the names on this half of the list, Cody Rhodes is probably least likely to actually make a WWE return any time soon. As the reigning ROH Champion and co-leader of the Bullet Club, there’s absolutely no denying The American Nightmare is currently performing at a level significantly higher than he was ever allowed when working for Vince McMahon. Of course, it’s for that exact reason Cody’s fans want WWE to take another look. In WWE, Cody was basically a joke, never accepted as a real star despite always delivering great matches when all cards were on the table. Now that he’s given the opportunity to truly strut his stuff and lead independent promotions, McMahon might finally realize whatever he was missing about the guy. If the circumstance isn’t right for a true comeback, in the very least, we’re going to keep choosing Cody’s stuff on the independent scene over some of the weaker material WWE produces.
16 GO AWAY: Tye Dillinger
Okay, so it’s all well and good to chant “10” each year at the Royal Rumble when Tye Dillinger comes out to his preordained spot. Aside from that, though, what has the guy actually done throughout the past year? For that matter, what has he accomplished of note during his entire stay in the WWE Universe at large? A little under four years in NXT produced some decent matches, but no titles or particularly memorable feuds. The same could be said of Dillinger’s career since getting called up to the main roster, with the main difference being that his matches are getting shorter and shorter, and thus don’t have time to even become “decent.” In fairness, there probably would be a vocal component of fans upset over WWE firing Dillinger, and they may have a point. However, for WWE to acknowledge him as more than a jobber with a catchy chant attached to his gimmick, he’s going to need to prove himself all over again on the independent scene first.
15 COME BACK: Batista
With a bustling movie career and his last stint in WWE not going all that well, the odds of Batista making a return to wrestling for anything other than a Hall of Fame induction are pretty darn low. Then again, it feels entirely possible Vince McMahon or his Evolution friends Triple H, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton could somehow convince The Animal to make a couple brief one off appearances. Batista himself has claimed he’d like to make some surprise comebacks on the house show circuit, which might be a brilliant way to give him one last hurrah and raise a market where WWE has been notoriously sagging in recent years. Nearing 50 years old, Batista may not have much more to give in the ring other than an understated farewell tour, but especially since that final WWE run in 2014 went as poorly as it did, fans genuinely want to give the guy a more fitting send off. 2018 might be his last chance to do it, so catch WWE live if they’re in your area and you hear any rumors.
14 GO AWAY: Jinder Mahal
Quite frankly, the fact Jinder Mahal wasn’t fired immediately after losing the WWE Championship, or in the very least severely demoted, was a little bit of a shock. Six months of the Modern Day Maharaja on top merely made fans realize just how terrible a wrestler he was, never once participating in a good match or feud. Somehow, Mahal was even worse on the mic than in the ring, with his only memorable interviews being the ones castigated as racist and offensive. This is one wrestler Vince McMahon is simply never going to prove the crowd wrong about, and unlike Roman Reigns, he doesn’t even seem to have the energy or drive to try. All Jinder has is his muscles, which simply aren’t that impressive now that the crowd is used to them. There’s truly no hope he’ll ever get better, so WWE needs to cut their losses already.
13 COME BACK: Bobby Lashley
Truly breaking the mold, Bobby Lashley was the one muscle bound monster Vince McMahon just couldn’t figure out how to promote. Not that he didn’t try, as Lashley was pushed all the way to the moon, serving as Donald Trump’s avatar in the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23. During the time of that landmark match, Lashley was also ECW Champion, another way Vince tried to make him a star. None of it really took, though, and Lashley didn’t prove his worth until much later, when working for Impact Wrestling. In all fairness to Vince, part of the problem was Lashley himself, as he was inexperienced in the ring and weak on the microphone. Now that Lashley has had some time to experiment and grow as a performer, though, he’s a much better wrestler all around, and one that Vince might have a much easier time turning into a superstar.
12 GO AWAY: Brock Lesnar
While Brock Lesnar has the potential to absolutely crush it in the ring when he cares, the fact of the matter is that the Beast Incarnate checked out on his latest WWE run quite some time ago. This is especially disappointing considering he’s been the reigning WWE Universal Champion almost an entire year, a fact that has lead to both good and bad Pay-Per-View main events. Regardless of how anyone feels about Lesnar’s talents, the real issue with Brock is that he’s rumored to be itching for a return to UFC, and Tweets of him hanging out with Dana White would suggest this is certainly a possibility. If that’s the case, the good news for WWE fans is that Lesnar’s at his best in small doses, when he wants to make a big splash after a long absence to remind everyone of his worth. Maybe going away for a few months and having a couple UFC fights is what he needs to make the next comeback more explosive than ever.
11 COME BACK: Rey Mysterio
Whether we actually want him back or not, all signs are pointing to Rey Mysterio making his WWE return some time in the near future. Well, okay, about half of the signs are pointing in this direction, while the others are staunching denying any truth to the rumors. Anything can happen in the WWE Universe, so there’s no way to know for sure which side is correct. That said, the fact Mysterio showed up for “one night only” at the Royal Rumble definitely tipped the edge over into the “comeback” category. There was also talk about Mysterio returning to wrestle John Cena at WrestleMania itself, which was initially debunked, but the fact it got so many people talking means it might just happen anyway, a little bit more down the line. Whether it’s to wrestle Cena, have another run on top, or just to spice up 205 Live for a little bit, a full-time return for Mysterio could always spice things up.
10 GO AWAY: Bray Wyatt
Oh, how the devourer has fallen. Bray Wyatt walked into WrestleMania 33 as the WWE Champion, and walked out on one of the fastest downward spirals in wrestling history. The match in which he lost the title to Randy Orton was an absolute disaster, focused on weak CGI projections of weird insects rather than anything that resembled wrestling. Two months later they one-upped themselves with the dreadful House of Horrors, and while nothing has been quite that bad since, Wyatt hasn’t exactly done anything to redeem himself, either. Wyatt’s once engaging interviews have veered into utter nonsense, causing feuds against Finn Bálor and “Woken” Matt Hardy to merely shatter the momentum of those two otherwise popular wrestlers. At this point, not even Sister Abigail could save Wyatt’s career. His only option is to leave WWE, at least for a little while, until he can figure things out.
9 COME BACK: Wade Barrett
We’re afraid we’ve got some bad news for anyone looking at this list for actual rumors about who could be returning to WWE in the near future. There have been no such rumblings about many names we’ve mentioned, including “Bad News” Wade Barrett. There is a little bit of hope, though, in the fact Barrett himself Tweeted his interest in the 2018 Royal Rumble, suggesting this could well be the year he finally comes back. Even when Barrett decided to leave WWE in 2015, he made the announcement he knew he would be back “when the time was right.” He also claimed to be leaving for an acting career, and with all due respect, that hasn’t happened. In any event, today’s state when the company is seriously lacking in top level heels might be the perfect scenario for his return. Of course, just about any time is right for a wrestler of Barrett’s talents.
8 GO AWAY: Titus O’Neil
Poor, poor Apollo (not Crews)—could there be anything more damaging to a wrestler’s career in 2018 than getting attached to “The Titus Brand?” The only reason Apollo himself isn’t on this list is that it’s not entirely his fault, with all of the blame firmly on his namesake tag team partner, Titus O’Neil. Once heralded as an excellent father outside of the ring, O’Neil has never been much of a presence inside of it. He briefly held the WWE Tag Team Championships with Darren Young as The Prime Time Players, but all either man could offer to the pairing was energy, which quickly fell apart when they were expected to talk or wrestle. The requisite feud when they broke up made it clear O’Neil was the (weaker) link, and trying to reposition him as a star maker in the midst of a losing streak makes absolutely no sense. Rather than getting experimentally weird and dragging down talented wrestlers for a joke only Vince McMahon understands, it’s probably time to ditch The Titus Brand altogether.
7 COME BACK: Drew McIntyre
Realistically speaking, Drew McIntyre’s name doesn’t belong on this list, as he’s technically already signed to the WWE Universe. There is a catch, however, in the fact McIntyre has been stuck down in NXT for the past year, when he’s been fully capable of having made a return to the main roster all of that time. It’s fair enough the company decided he needed to prove himself for a few months, but at this point, it’s overwhelmingly apparent McIntyre is ready for the big leagues and then some. Immediately upon his NXT debut, he was thrust into the main event, and there was no question he deserved to be there. Since he’s already spent a few months as NXT Champion, there’s really no point in sending him back down to the minor leagues. Therefore, if WWE plans on keeping McIntyre around at all, it should really be on the main roster.
6 GO AWAY: Stephanie McMahon
All right, all right. There’s absolutely no way Stephanie McMahon is leaving WWE after WrestleMania 34, let alone ever. That said, every member of the McMahon family is known to take a nice long sabbatical now and again, and if there’s any justice in WWE, Stephanie’s will come right after she loses to Ronda Rousey. In the interest of fairness, Stephanie does draw a lot of heat from the crowd, but unless someone can beat her up and give the audience what they want, like Rousey is poised to do, all it does is waste time. Sometimes it even damages the active wrestlers, as Stephanie takes credit for all their work and makes everything about her, when she’s not even directly involved with the in-ring product. It’s pretty unlikely that Stephanie will stick around just to keep losing matches, and Rousey’s will look even stronger if she hurts Steph so bad she needs several months off, so here’s hoping she does the right thing and goes away for a while.
5 COME BACK: Chris Jericho
Truth be told, after Chris Jericho’s incredible match with Kenny Omega and Wrestle Kingdom 12, it would be just as well that he stayed in New Japan Pro Wrestling for a little bit. However, if Jericho decides he’s done in the Land of the Rising Sun and wants to come home, the WWE Universe is always better for his presence. One of the most memorable moments of Raw 25 was Jericho making his one night only return to put Elias on The List, making it clear he’s still in top form stateside. His performance against Omega also made it overwhelming obvious Jericho has an incredible amount left to give in the ring, as well, and could be an incredible asset in teaching new talent to reach his level. The only thing stopping a major return is Jericho himself having too many outside interests, and that’s all well and good for him, but fans just want to see the guy wrestle.
4 GO AWAY: Kane
Honestly, at this point, we’re not really sure what Kane’s status is with WWE. The dude is running for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, for crying out loud, so one might expect he’d stay out of the ring at least until election day. And yet, there he is, slowly slouching his way through hellfire and brimstone to the wrestling ring he hasn’t belonged in for a solid decade now. Kane’s only purpose at this point appears to be looking artificially big and scary for all of two minutes or so, only for a younger, scarier monster like Braun Strowman or Roman Reigns to destroy him in quick order. The worst part is, those two minutes are impossible enough time for both his loss and the unfortunate squash some rising star is going to suffer, unnecessarily preparing Kane for his latest embarrassment. Even if he weren’t running for Mayor, most fans would agree they’ve had more than enough of Kane for one life time, and the fact he is trying to get elected means he seriously needs to leave the ring already.
3 COME BACK: CM Punk
Not that long ago, CM Punk was doing a lot of talk about having no passion whatsoever for wrestling, and thus never wanting to return to the WWE Universe under any circumstances. Instead, Punk was focusing all his energy on MMA and the UFC, until he lost his debut to Mickey Gall in a rather embarrassing 2 minutes. Always determined to prove himself, Punk might have taken the loss as a sign to train harder and do better in his next fight, but for his own sake, a WWE return could be a safer decision. Fans would certainly be overjoyed to hear the harsh guitars of his theme music blare out once again, as evidenced by the loud “CM PUNK” chants that persist over four years since his departure. Unfortunately, Punk and WWE are still engaged in a law suit over comments he made on Colt Cabana’s podcast, so this one is extremely unlikely.
2 GO AWAY: The Usos
Unfortunately, no matter how loudly online critics call for Jimmy and Jey Uso to lose their jobs, or in the very least spend a few years improving their skills, the two are some of the most secure wrestlers in the WWE Universe today. This is largely due to family connections, as Vince McMahon would never do anything to hurt his golden boy, the Usos’ cousin Roman Reigns. Of course, we’d also throw the uninteresting Reigns on this list if there was any chance whatsoever Vince would finally give up on him. If nothing else, at least Roman gets reactions, which is something his cousins haven’t heard in years. Even when they do pull off a moderately impressive tag team maneuver against more talented performers, Jey and Jimmy are almost instantly forgettable once the bell rings, even if they hold more gold than anyone else on the roster today. The mere fact they’re brothers who have been together for a long time doesn’t make them a good tag team, and it’s rather irritating WWE hasn’t realized this fact yet.
1 GO AWAY: The Big Show
It’s hard to remember a time when critics of the WWE Universe weren’t begging the company to finally give The Big Show a rest, and it looks like we may finally be reaching the fabled day when he finally calls it quits. Rumors are that Show hasn’t renewed his latest contract, and it feels outrageously unlikely he’ll be headed to Impact Wrestling or anywhere else in the business. There’s always the chance Show will simply take a few months off and re-sign, though, so to clarify, what we really want from him is a permanently retirement that will promise he’s gone for good. There was a time Show was big, menacing, and talented enough in the ring to back it up, but now he’s pretty much just a big joke, and no one is laughing. For his own dignity, he needs to officially retire before it gets even worse.